How to Write an Incredibly Important 25 Page Term Paper

About Criminality and Sexuality in Charles Dickens’ Works:

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(It looks like this. Check back after Friday at 4pm when this is due for more tales of how I learned to live in the library and had to carry around two bags because I had so many books.)

Part II:

It was hard. It was so so so hard. I’ve never written anything that length before, so I guess it was a good exercise considering I’ll be writing thesis next semester. Though we wrote and passed in ten pages of the paper in October, I had to scrap all of them because my argument and ideas changed. I’m glad, though…I am happier to have been stressed writing a paper that I feel really good, confident about versus one that was thrown together and easy. I spent nearly all my time in the library over the past week– even came back early from Thanksgiving break to work on it. But I feel incredibly accomplished, and a lot less stressed out. This coming week is the LAST WEEK OF CLASSES of the fall semester! I still have two final papers and a final exam, but I feel like the happiness finishing my term paper is going to propel me straight towards the end. And now I’m an expert on sexuality and criminality in Victorian England, and Dickens’ fond feelings for reforming prostitutes!

Done with Junior Year…what?

There you have it folks. As of 2:30 pm this afternoon, I took my last exam of the semester and now am free and done. It was tough for a while, that’s for sure. I usually like finals week at Bates, because everyone’s in the same situation and the only thing to do is study. But here, in Paris, the rest of the world doesn’t come to a crashing halt for exams– it was really difficult to focus and work hard! BUT, I survived. I took two exams at the Sorbonne, three exams with my program, and wrote an art history paper… which means I’m free!

But… I still have 11 days left in Paris. So what does that mean? Commence bucket list: Paris edition. All of my friends and I have compiled lists of things we want to do before we leave: things that we never got around to, things that sound cool, things that are so quintessentially Paris that it’d be a crime to leave without doing them. We’re comparing notes and putting together an incredibly epic plan for the next week that will keep us busy and happy, no regrets!

Step one, today, after my exam, I went to the Musee de l’Orangerie. Before the Musee D’Orsay opened in the late 80s, the Orangerie, which is at one end of the Tuileries gardens, housed most of the impressionists works. Now, however, it is home to incredible waterlillies painted by Monet and presented in giant white oval rooms with specific lighting that make for a peaceful but powerful experience. The permenant collection was also interesting: my friend Cora and I discussed our feelings on Renoir (both still lifes and portraits) as well as Cezanne and le Douanier Rousseau. The little art history knowledge I’ve gained since being here has certainly come in handy– there’s nothing more satisfying than looking at a painting and being able to say something true and maybe even insightful about it.

Here I am in front of one of Monet’s works!

The Budapest Weekend, or, How I was briefly penniless in Hungary

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit Budapest, Hungary, where Bates runs a short term class on Central European theater and film. The course description is : A study of Hungarian, Polish, and Czech theater and film, focusing on the impact on these arts of the social and political changes of the last fifty years, from the Polish and Hungarian uprisings of 1956 to the rebuilding of culture in the region following the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in 1989. While in Budapest, students view films at the Hungarian National Film Archive and attend performances of central European theater at the International Contemporary Drama Festival and the Hungarian National Theater. Visits to theater and film centers in Prague are also included. Sounds kind of awesome right?

This kind of short term course is a great option for Batesies who don’t want to commit to an entire semester abroad. These students spend 5 weeks, instead of 5 months in a foreign country, but still get exposed to a new language and culture.

As a student who is interested and active in theater at Bates, though not the theater department, I had many friends who were on the program, including one of my favorite professors, Kati Vecsey. So, though it was an expensive plane ticket, I decided that my last weekend trip while abroad would be to visit Hungary. What a great weekend I picked: Kati was able to get me tickets to go along with the class to shows. Friday night we saw Otello at the Opera house, (which was sung in Italian and subtitled in Hungarian) and Saturday we saw an incredible production of Moliere’s Misanthrope (which was also in Hungarian, and I’d never read it, but it was amazing nevertheless).


Travis, Danya, Michelle and I during one of the THREE intermissions at the Opera


Michelle, me, and Danya outside of the Opera (with a few special guests making cameo appearences)


Michelle and me out to dinner after the opera. Budapest was similar to Zagreb in that there were many pedestrian streets filled with restaurants and terraces. YUMMY. I had gnocchi.


The mighty Hotel Budapest: their home and classroom for 5 weeks


Look it’s a castle! Okay, so right nearby here happens to be where Katy Perry shot the final sequence of her music video for “Firework.” True confessions? It was one of my favorite guilty pleasure jams last semester so I FREAKED OUT when I heard it was nearby. Bummer of the century: they were setting up for some weird wine tasting or something so it was all closed. At least I got to take a little peek…


There I am! Solo shot, as per usual, just for you guys. Beautiful view beside some ancient ruins near the castle.


Here Danya acts as proof of where we dined for lunch: on a boat docked on the Danube. So classy, albeit a bit windy.

So I spent a wonderful weekend visiting my friends in Budapest, seeing amazing productions, even had a dinner with Kati (dreams do come true!) ! However, here I will note something that happened while I was away that is a problem that befalls many world travelers, and it was bound to happen at some point: my debit card got cancelled.

Throughout my time in Budapest, I’d been attempting to take money out from ATMs with no luck. I assumed at first it was a problem with the legitimacy of the ATMs, but soon realized something was wrong. So I called the bank (using google voice, duh) and found out that two weeks earlier, my card had been cancelled due to some fraud suspicions or something. Without notifying me. You’re probably thinking, wait, how did you not notice your card not working for 2 weeks? WELL, my parents were visiting me! I was being taken out to incredible meals! For the first time since coming to Paris I wasn’t obsessively counting pennies and taking out more money than I wanted to! So I didn’t notice…until I was penniless in Hungary. But, I was with friends. And they helped me out. And I made it home safely. And had 30 euros to my name for a while, but I called the bank every day and I now have a new card that works! Hooray! So, like I said, unfortunate but inevitable occurrence,  but I feel very lucky that it happened while I was surrounded by people who supported me.

Ok. Finals week in France. Harder than Bates, because the world keeps going on here. There’s PARIS things to do, like have a picnic in the park, or sit by the Seine. I don’t want to study for 4 exams or write my paper! But I must. So here I go…

T-Minus 2 weeks till the US. whew

See you in 9 months, Bates

Home again, home again. Except this time there’s a permanence; heading back to school isn’t just around the bend. Instead the next great adventure is Paris, France for Winter semester. I leave January 14th and won’t be back until the very end of May. Okay, true confessions? I’m terrified. I spent much of this semester very ready, very excited to go abroad and experience something new and different. And then as finals week began to wind down, I was struck by the seriousness of the situation. I finished my last Shakespeare paper and realized that I had to pack, and that I was done, and that I would be leaving for a very long time. After France, is a grown up internship for the summer, then senior year, then the real world. If these past 5 semesters have passed by so quickly, I started to think I’d blink and poof! Be in the real world.

Packing up my room was quite the bummer. I’d turned my little single into my inner sanctum, covered in posters from every theater, music and art event of the last three years. It was so sad to take everything down. I’d been super busy with finals all week and then had to buckle down and pack it all up Friday morning before I drove home that afternoon. Near the end of the process, it was a sad sight:

And now I’m home. Don’t get me wrong, I ‘m so glad to be here and spend time with my family and friends, but I’m already missing Bates way more than expected. I guess I’ll just have to get ready to embrace abroad. Paris countdown: 25 days!

The Hood Internet/the Knocks Concert

Last night, despite finals week LOOMING ahead of the Bates community, WRBC threw a sick concert– the last one of the semester. We brought the KNOCKS and the Hood Internet to ensure that dancing would be the main event of the evening– and oh boy it was.

We were all a little antsy, because all the performers were late arrivals, but in the end, there was time enough for everything. There was a limited capacity for the show, in the Benjamin Mays Center, and we could only sell 300 tickets. They only cost a buck, so ticket COST wasn’t a deterrent for people to come. However, about 10 minutes before doors opened at 9:30, there was a gigantic line snaking all down the paths outside, everyone trying to get their hands on a coveted wristband. I was not one of the board members designated to take money or apply wristbands, but I could easily observe how quickly the show sold out. You know what happened next? Kids went crazy trying to get into this show. They were sneaking in the windows in the bathroom, the loading door, all sorts of places… only once they got in and didn’t have a wristband they were immediately escorted out by our burly security guards. It made the show that much more special– everyone who was there REALLY wanted to be there.

I was SO EXCITED to dance, to let loose after a crazy semester full of work and as my last opportunity to get sweaty on the dance floor at Bates until next September.

As always, hanging out with the performers is a wonderful perk of putting on shows. The Knocks were super friendly and they really liked my hat, which was a freebie that my mom found in the depths of her office– an original “acme crimenet” baseball cap a la Where in the World is Carmen San Diego.

After the Hood Internet ended their amazing, long set, no one wanted to stop dancing. All that I’d promised in the numerous announce emails and facebook events — “a big, sweaty dance party”– had been accomplished. And that’s a great note to end on for WRBC this semester. We started off strong with Dr Dog, printed and sold awesome tees and tanks, rocked out on Trivia Night, and ended with this blow out of a show. Though I’m sad that this board will never be together again, with the juniors going abroad and then seniors graduating in the spring, I still love WRBC so so much and cannot wait for the wonderful things we will do next year.

TRIVIA NIGHT 2010.5

WRBC, the student radio station, puts on many events throughout the course of the year. Our most popular are often concerts, bringing smaller, unknown acts to Bates to rock out. We do, however, (and I say we because as the Publicity Director and a DJ for 5 consecutive semesters, I feel connected and responsible for the things WRBC does) have one annual event that doesn’t involve live music but is still one of the best nights at Bates– TRIVIA NIGHT.

These are the rules to trivia night, (I wrote these last year as one of my first tasks as a new board member) and last night when we were reading them on the air I had no problem taking credit for how clever and great they are, and I attributed this to the fact that I am an English major. Go english majors! We can write things!!

To participate in Trivia Night, you need a team. Said team can have as many people you want, but there are no limits. Tea…ms greater than seven are recommended. Also necessary: a knack for figuring out the obscure songs and trivia questions that WRBC throws at you. Each team is evaluated according to how many points they win. There are three ways to receive points:

1) Trivia: While tuning in to 91.5 FM all night, you will hear all sorts of songs, from pop hits to obscure chinese folk ballads, and each song has a corresponding trivia question. Using the special trivia night telephone number, call in (before the song ends!) and tell us the title of the song, the artist who is performing it, and the answer to the trivia question. Each of those answers are worth 1 point, so every song is an opportunity to get 3 points.

2) The real excitement begins with Physical Challenges. So maybe you didn’t know in which state it was illegal for mourners at a wake to eat more than three sandwiches? Well, luckily, you can earn more points through a random assortment of the physical challenge, which are announced on the hour, and then performed on the half hour at the WRBC studio. Winners of Physical Challenges are given 15 points, 2nd Place 10 points, and 3rd Place 5 points. These challenges are judged by a group of trivia night staff.

3) Make sure you’re paying attention, you don’t want to miss: Random points events. Because we’re nice people, sometimes points will be offered for certain requirements to be filled. These could really help you out, especially if you’re creative and listening carefully. So be on the look out!

At the end of all the many hours of radio, trivia, and challenges, each team must perform a skit assigned during the last hour of the broadcast. This final challenge holds a very high point value, so if you want to win, make sure you make it entertaining and ingenious.

Once all that’s happened, a winner is declared, prizes are awarded and it’s really early in the morning. WRBC officially recommends sleeping.

DOESN’T THAT SOUND LIKE FUN?? Well it is. However, when I woke up this past Tuesday with a terrible, debilitating cold, I was scared. I barely did anything except go to class Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; I stayed in bed and drank fluids and quietly focused on getting better. I had a ton of fun putting together my hour of music and trivia with my friend Katy; in our humble opinions, our hour, from 12-1 AM, was the best. Still, after all my best efforts of staying up all night, around 3:30 I was fading,  fast, and our general manager (aka head honcho) insisted it was a-okay that I bail. Our concert director walked me home in the eerie early morning snow, and while I felt terrible for not making it through the night, I knew that I needed to SLEEP if I am going to make it through until the end of the semester alive.

I did the whole night last year, so I know what I missed but I also definitely stand by my decision to choose sleep over three more hours of red bull and trivia. So I couldn’t stay up all night, but in general I try to avoid all-nighters, so it’s not the end of the world.

Hey Last Week of Classes? Bring it on. I’ve already taken a big bite out of the 44 pages of writing I have due by Friday. And after Friday? Exams Exams Exams. THEN WINTER BREAK!

Back at School, or, How turkey time was exactly what I needed

Familiar scene. Back from break, well-rested but still sleepy, clean laundry, excitement of reunions, and most importantly, the huge pile of work that’s been ignored for the past ten days or so. Every single time, I fall victim to this situation: I get way too engrossed in being home and doing homey things that all of the sudden it’s the day I’m going back to school and all that progress I’d planned on making has certainly not… well..progressed. So before I jump into that pile of reading and writing that awaits me, let me give a quick play by play for the last lovely week.

Arrived home Friday evening, Schuyler in tow, both of us dead from stress/work/sleep deprivation. We trade witticisms over chinese take-out and then watch The Kids Are All Right on demand, before an early bedtime. Her flight leaves at some ungodly hour the next day, and after I drop her off in my pajamas at Logan, I promptly go back to sleep for 5 more hours and wake up feeling in full vacation mode.

That night, I was lured out of the comfort of said pajamas (they didn’t come off till 7 or 8 pm) to go into Boston and see some bates grad friends. This happened to turn into the most wholesome evening ever. We baked brownies and watched The Princess Bride. Sounds like an ideal night for a 12 year old right? Well, my friend Eric and I thought it was a perfect choice for us too. Even his roommates who were on their way out for the night paused at our choice of evening entertainment, although I swear it was because they were jealous of the delicious smelling brownies.

I went back, the next day, to watch another movie with a different roommate on the same couch. We watched The Road. What a bummer… I was in no mood for a post-apocalyptic downer. Of all the post-apocalyptic movies I’ve seen (and I watch a lot of them. Guy friends= action and post-apocalyptic movie nights) this one was the least entertaining. Give me some zombies or something! Or battle scenes. Gore! Blood! Anything! That being said, I know that it was a great book and supposedly leaves the viewer/reader with a sense of hope, but I guess I just wasn’t in any sort of mood to take a film like that seriously.

Other things that happened: seeing a high school friend who had been studying abroad in Australia, having lunch with my boss from this summer (we traded stories of heartbreaks and dissected my career options), getting my field hockey team from high school together to have an annual lunch with our coach (who is 7 months pregnant!!), thanksgiving eating, more eating, pies, more pies, relatives, more relatives, and more high school reunions.

I think the stuff around Thanksgiving gets fuzzy because it is surrounded by a haze of tryptophan-induced sleepiness. Also deliciousness. I may have eaten approximately half of a pecan pie over the past three days. Jealous?

I guess if I had to put this break into one word it would be reunions. There are so many people that I have met over the years that I don’t get to see often, and when those few precious opportunities arise, it’s so lovely to catch up and ease right back into old routines and inside jokes. Stories from high school or a summer job still resonate and make us laugh so hard we almost cry, and the same songs that made me dance my butt off at… prom still get the same reaction when played in the right company.

Now that I’ve taken a nice distracted break from the aforementioned pile of work, it can no longer be ignored. Two weeks of classes, one week of finals. 5+ papers, three exams, WRBC Trivia Night, a WRBC concert (the Hood Internet and The Knocks)… better dive right in!